Boot test explained

This is how the Fair Work Ombudsman explains the better off overall test in the context of the registration of an enterprise agreement.

The better off overall test considers the terms that are more beneficial and less beneficial to employees in an agreement, compared to the terms in the relevant modern award.

The better off overall test requires the identification of agreement terms which are more beneficial, and the terms which are less beneficial, and then an overall assessment is made as to whether employees would be better off under the agreement than under the relevant award.

The better off overall test is not applied as a line by line analysis. It is a global test requiring consideration of advantages and disadvantages to award covered employees and prospective award covered employees. The application of the better off overall test therefore requires the identification of the terms of an Agreement which are more beneficial to employees when compared to the relevant modern award, and the terms of an Agreement which are less beneficial and then an overall assessment of whether an employee would be better off under the Agreement.

The Commission must be satisfied that each award covered employee and each prospective award covered employee would be better off overall if the agreement applied to the employee than if the relevant modern award applied to the employee.

The question posed by the better off overall test is not whether each employee is better off under the Agreement compared to their particular existing working arrangements but whether they are better off overall if the Agreement applied rather than the relevant modern award

An agreement may pass the test even if some award benefits have been reduced, as long as overall those reductions are more than offset by the benefits of the agreement.